A closeup of Clint Eastwood in A Fistful of dollars.
Movies - TV
The 60s Western That Helped Launch Clint Eastwood To Stardom
Before Clint Eastwood became a Hollywood icon, he mainly got by with bit parts in B movies and guest roles on TV series like "Maverick" and "Death Valley Days."
However, his career took a turn for the better when he took up an offer to make an unusually violent, low-budget Western in Spain with an Italian director.
The director, Sergio Leonne, was a relative unknown at the time, but his 1964 film "A Fistful of Dollars" catapulted Eastwood to stardom and sparked the Spaghetti Western genre.
Eastwood's character, "The Man With No Name," was a shocking departure from the Western heroes made famous by John Wayne, James Stewart, and Gary Cooper.
"A Fistful of Dollars" was a hit in Europe upon its release, but it wasn't distributed in the United States until 1967. Two more films in the "Dollars trilogy" were filmed by then.
By the end of the year, all three movies were in theaters and Eastwood became the new, morally complex kind of Western hero. He maintained that image for decades to come.